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Hobart Town, Tasmania

Date: c 1875
335 x 375 x 30 mm
Image: 120 x 195 mm
Medium: Paper, ink, wood, glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00040672
Related Place:Hobart,

User Terms

    This hand-coloured steel engraving was engraved by Thomas Heawood based on a work by J C Armytage. It depicts the quay at Hobart Town, Tasmania with Mount Wellington in the background in the mid-late 19th century.
    SignificanceThis view of the formal penal settlement of Hobart Town captures the scenic beauty of the place, its beautiful harbour and the peak of Mount Wellington.

    HistoryIn 1803 increasing British concerns over the presence of French explorers off southern Australia and Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) led to the establishment of the first European settlement on the shores of Van Diemen's Land, at Risdon Cove on the eastern shores of the Derwent River by Lieutenant John Bowen. At the same time, Captain David Collins was sent to Port Phillip Bay in Victoria, but quickly decided that the place was unsuitable for settlement and pressed on to Van Diemen's Land, arriving in 1804. The site chosen by Bowen at Risdon Cove proved unsuitable and in 1804 Collins ordered the penal settlement moved to Sullivan's Cove. The new settlement was named Hobart Town or Hobarton, renamed Hobart in 1875, after Lord Robert Hobart, the British Secretary of State for the Colonies.

    The early settlers were mostly convicts and their military guards who were given the task of developing agriculture and other industries. Numerous other convict-based settlements were established including secondary punishment settlements, such as Macquarie Harbour on the west coast. Van Diemen's Land was proclaimed a separate colony from New South Wales with its own judicial establishment and Legislative Council on 3 December 1825.

    From the 1820s the township of Hobart blossomed from a mixture of settlers' huts and rural land into an ordered and well-planned town. The area known as Queens Domain, which today includes the Botanic Gardens, was commissioned for the Governor. A number of mansions were built around this precinct, including Runnymede in New Town (about 1836). New industries such as the Cascade Brewery (1824), with its "wedding cake" Victorian façade were also established, and in 1837 Australia's oldest theatre, the Theatre Royal was built.

    Charles Darwin visited Hobart Town in February, 1836 as part of the BEAGLE expedition. He recorded '...The lower parts of the hills which skirt the bay are cleared; and the bright yellow fields of corn, and dark green ones of potatoes, appear very luxuriant... I was chiefly struck with the comparative fewness of the large houses, either built or building.' (Darwin, C.R. 'Journal of the Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries visited by H.M.S. Beagle, 1839). At the time of Darwin's visit in 1835 Hobart Town contained 13,826 inhabitants and the whole of Tasmania 36,505. Source:

    As the Derwent River was one of Australia's finest deepwater ports Hobart became the centre of the Southern Ocean whaling and sealing trade and the town quickly developed into a major port with allied industries such as stevedoring, providoring, timber cutting and ship-building. Numerous warehouses were built in the vicinity of Salamanca Place from 1835 onwards as well as docks such as Constitution, The Victoria Dock and the 'New Docks', to cater for the whaling and sealing trade as well as for servicing the vessels of the British Royal Navy. Transportation to Van Diemen's Land and the Eastern Colonies of Australia ceased in 1853. In 1856 the name Van Diemen's Land was officially changed to Tasmania after the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, the first European to sight the island.

    James Charles Armytage was a landscape, figure and historical engraver, 1802 - 1897. He was one of most prolific engravers of his time and was responsible for more than 200 plates. His first notable work was in T H Shepherd's 'London and its environs' published in 1829-31, Ruskin's Modern Painters and 42 engravings appeared in Art journal 1847-90, and Edwin Carton Booth's 'Australia Illustrated' with illustrations by Skinner Prout, N Chevalier and Oswald Brierly also published by Virtue And Co. in London, 1873. Armytage and his fellow engravers Thomas Heawood and Edward Paxman followed the prevailing European trend of painting outside, away from the artist's studio. This was known as the 'plein air' method.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Engraving of Hobart Town, Tasmania

    Assigned title: Hobart Town, Tasmania

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